The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston participated in an international study finding that low-dose aspirin therapy in older healthy adults without previous cardiovascular events did not prolong healthy independent living.
UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging was one of 34 clinical sites in the United States taking part in the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly trial.
“This is a critically important study because many older adults who never had a heart attack or a stroke are taking aspirin,” says Dr. Elena Volpi, principal investigator of the UTMB clinical site. “In this study aspirin did not protect from developing dementia or physical disability, but it increased the risk of death.”
More than 19,000 people 65 and older in the United States and Australia participated in the ASPREE study, which began in 2010 to see if aspirin would increase survival free of persistent physical disability or dementia.
Upon enrolling, participants could not have dementia or a physical disability and had to be free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use. Individuals with stable chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, were included in the study. Participants were followed an average of 4.7 years to determine outcomes.
ASPREE researchers found that the rates for major cardiovascular events, including coronary heart disease, nonfatal heart attacks, and fatal and nonfatal ischemic stroke were similar for those taking aspirin when compared to those taking a placebo.
The increased risk of death found in participants taking aspirin appeared to be mostly due to cancer deaths. However, the researchers urge caution saying those findings indicate a need for more long-term studies.
Researchers also examined the risk of major bleeding; a recognized side effect of aspirin use, and found a significant increase in bleeding risk with aspirin. This finding was consistent with results from many other aspirin studies.
The takeaway message is that for healthy people over 70, like the ones enrolled in ASPREE, daily use of low-dose aspirin does not appear to extend a healthy life span.
Leaders of the ASPREE team include John McNeil of Monash University, Australia and Anne Murray of the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis.
The study, published in three papers in The New England Journal of Medicine, received support from the National Institute on Aging and the National Cancer Institute.
@JoniDGoodman @JaniceSimon Thank you for joining us today, Joni. Our team enjoyed hearing your insight.
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Perry Loyd. Perry served during World War I. Perry enlisted with the United States Army at Camp Jackson (now Fort Jackson), South Carolina on Oct. 10, 1917. After completing basic training, he was assigned to the 371st Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division, a segregated division of the U.S. Army and the only African-American division allowed to serve in combat during World War I. In April 1918, Perry and the 93rd Infantry Division were deployed to France. Upon arriving, Perry and the 371st Infantry Division were attached to the French 157th Régiment d'Infanterie under command of General Mariano Goybet, who had been in desperate need of reinforcements. For three months, Perry and his fellow soldiers served on the front line under French command, holding positions at Avocourt and later at Verdun, France. In September 1918, Perry and the 93rd Infantry Division were taken off the front line in preparation for the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. For 47 days, Allied forces launched a massive assault across the entire Western Front in the largest offensive operation in U.S. military history. Perry and his regiment began their offensive in Champaign, France on Sept. 26, 1918. By Oct. 6, the 371st Infantry Regiment had successfully taken positions from German forces across Northern France, including Hill 188, Bussy Ferme, Ardeuil-et-Montfauxelles and Trieres Ferme. On Sept. 29, 1918 while fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Perry was wounded in action. Perry survived his wounds and following the Armistice, was discharged at the rank of sergeant. Upon completing his service, Perry returned to his home state of South Carolina, where he worked as a sharecropper until passing in 1946 at the age of 61. Despite being wounded in action, Perry never received the Purple Heart. His grandson and namesake, Perry James, sought to rectify this, researching military records and petitioning with his congressional office. On Oct. 13, 2018, 100 years after being wounded in France, Perry was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during combat. We honor his service.
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